Posted on December 31, 2012


On the last day of 2012 it seems an appropriate time to look back on the events of the year and pick out some highlights for discussion. It was a very good year of racing with some fantastic on-track moments and some significant ones off track too. Here are some of my personal favourites; let us know in the comments section below what you found the best moments of 2012. Hamilton wins the duel in Austin A great race in a great season and one that reminded everyone that Lewis Hamilton should have been fighting for the world title, but More…

Posted on December 28, 2012


In the fourth of our team-mates analysis pieces here on JA on F1 we’ve turned the spotlight on the back of the grid and the intriguing youth versus experience duel that took place at Marussia. Young Frenchman Charles Pic became the vastly experienced Timo Glock’s third different rookie team-mate in as many seasons at the start of the year, the latter eight years older than the 22-year-old GP2 graduate. Unsurprisingly therefore given their relative experience levels, Glock continued to be Marussia’s lead driver in both name and reality: the German outqualifying Pic 13 times and recording a better race finish More…

Posted on December 27, 2012


On a technical level there were some interesting innovations on the cars this year as the F1 teams and engineers worked hard to get around regulation changes. The most significant change was the governing body, the FIA, wanting to restrict the practice of exhausts blowing into the diffuser area of the floor. During 2011 teams had adopted increasingly extreme solutions and this had resulted in huge gains in down force. Red Bull was dominant in 2011 because it optimized this practice. For 2012, engines were not allowed to be mapped in such a way that they continued to pump out More…

Posted on December 24, 2012


As it’s the Christmas Holidays, we have put together a podcast special, for the enjoyment of F1 fans around the world. We asked you the readers for questions to put to a panel of F1 insiders and we selected the 12 best, which are answered here. We got a great response with 222 fantastic questions. Here is a taste of them; to enjoy the whole podcast click on the link below. – What was the best overtake of the year – is there an official award for this? – When teams are thinking of employing a driver, what data do More…

Posted on December 22, 2012


In the third part of our series comparing team-mates’ head-to-head records at the end of 2012, we’ve taken a look at something slightly different in analysing how the very close battle for supremacy played out at Force India between Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg. Unlike the respective pairings we’ve covered at McLaren and Mercedes, di Resta and Hulkenberg’s time as team-mates has ultimately lasted just one year with the latter having decided to switch to Sauber for 2013. Their head-to-head data is therefore limited to just 20 races – but it’s a comparison still very much worth making given More…

Posted on December 21, 2012


Formula 1 television coverage in the UK will have its first permanent lead female presenter next season after the BBC announced Suzi Perry as Jake Humphrey’s successor. The corporation has been on the look-out for a new F1 anchor since Humphrey announced in September that he had taken up the offer to head up BT’s new Premier League football coverage from 2013. Several months of speculation as to the possible identity of the popular Humphrey’s replacement followed and this afternoon the news was finally revealed, with the BBC opting for a face well known to the corporation’s motorsport output albeit More…

Posted on December 21, 2012


Luca di Montezemolo has used his annual pre-Christmas dinner with journalists to outline his desire to see the team’s designers take off the shackles and be bolder with its 2013 car. A lack of innovation in the Maranello design office has been widely perceived as the root cause of Ferrari’s failure to win a world title in the last four seasons, although a more aggressive approach  in the conception of this year’s F2012 was supposed to have been taken only for some initial design interpretations to backfire come winter testing. But on the day Ferrari announced some changes to its More…

Posted on December 20, 2012


Today is the last day that readers in the UK can order the JA on F1 2012 season review – The Year of Living Dangerously in time to get it delivered before Christmas. So if you are looking for a last minute present for an F1-loving loved-one, this could be the thing for you! The book is a collection of the best posts from the JA on F1 website from this season, with plenty of new additional content, linking the posts and also adding more insight and a retrospective feel. Priced just £10-99 plus P&P, the large format paperback book More…

Posted on December 20, 2012


It has been confirmed that Caterham Sporting director Steve Nielsen will leave the team in January after two years as Sporting Director. He is understood to be moving to a different team. Nielsen was part of the group alongside Mike Gascoyne and Bob Bell at the Renault team in the early 2000s and was there through the Alonso years right up to the move to the black and gold of Lotus Renault GP in 2011, when he moved on to Caterham. But his career goes back further to stints at Team Lotus, Tyrrell and Arrows, under Tom Walkinshaw. Nielsen is More…

Posted on December 20, 2012


Mike Gascoyne has successfully completed his maiden solo transatlantic sailing trip after making it from Europe to the West Indies. The Caterham Composites CEO captained the teams ‘Caterham Challenge’ racing yacht, that is currently active in World yacht racing, and reached Grenada on Friday December 14. “Just arrived back home after 3 weeks away, so much has happened and so many experiences, strange feeling but good to be home and safe,” Gascoyne tweeted.”No traffic jams in the middle. No M25 misery. Just a journey to unlock the door to your future. Act on your dreams.” Gascoyne has been a keen More…

Posted on December 18, 2012


[Updated] Britain will have four drivers on the F1 grid next season after Max Chilton was confirmed in the second Marussia seat for 2013. The 21-year-old from Reigate impressed with two wins in GP2 this year, ultimately finishing fourth in the standings, with Marussia’s junior team and his promotion to a race seat at the senior F1 outfit seemed inevitable after he was announced as its reserve driver from the Japanese GP and made his race weekend debut in first practice in Abu Dhabi. Chilton, who is likely to bring a budget with him given his father is the vice-chairman More…

Posted on December 17, 2012


Lotus has finally confirmed that Romain Grosjean will retain his seat at the team for next season, with the Frenchman vowing to put the lessons learnt from his turbulent 2012 into practice. Although the 26-year-old had been expected to be kept on alongside Kimi Raikkonen for a second straight season the delay in the reconfirmation suggested the Enstone team’s hierarchy was carefully taking its time to ensure Grosjean was ready to make improvements in 2013. As while the Frenchman, after resurrecting his career in GP2 following his brief ill-fated initial F1 stint with the same team in 2009, showed his More…

Posted on December 17, 2012


Adrian Sutil says that there are no legal reasons why he cannot return to F1 as a Force India driver for next season. Sutil, who will turn 30 in January, lost his Force India drive in 2011 after being convicted in a German court of wounding Lotus F1 team executive Eric Lux in a night club brawl in Shanghai. But with Nico Hulkenberg moving on to Sauber for 2013, Sutil and his agent have worked hard behind the scened to force his way into contention. And he says that his criminal record will not be a barrier to getting visas More…

Posted on December 15, 2012


With just 16 days left in 2012, there are still some important loose ends yet to be tied up in F1 circles with the question mark over a 20th race for next year, the new Concorde Agreement requiring signature and some seats on the grid still to be filled. According to its own statutes, the FIA has until January 1 to confirm the 2013 calendar, with a slot left open on July 21 for a race to replace the postponed New Jersey event at the recent FIA World Council. That meeting and the FIA prize giving, took place in Istanbul More…

Posted on December 14, 2012


We are delighted to learn today that JA on F1 has been voted the best F1 blog in the Silverstone Media Awards, as voted by F1 fans. Silverstone organised an online poll, inviting fans to nominate the F1 news sources they most trusted and appreciated and the winners of the various categories are listed below. Thanks to all JA on F1 readers who voted for this site. We have never entered any awards competitions, but it’s good to win one where the fans themselves nominate the winners. It says a lot about the response to this site’s objectives of bringing More…

Posted on December 14, 2012


Mercedes’ F1 programme is set for significant change after it was announced today that Motorsport Director Norbert Haug has left the company after 22 years at the helm. Haug recently celebrated his 60th birthday, so there is a sense that his time had come to move aside and let a new generation take over. However there is more to it than that. It is a major moment for Mercedes and signals a change of direction and of culture. Haug, a former motoring journalist turned corporate player, has been at the helm since 1990 and brought Mercedes into F1 in 1993, More…

Posted on December 13, 2012


We have been running our annual end of year opportunity for readers to tell us who were their top five drivers of the season and this year we had a larger entry than in 2011; just under 800 entries. This is probabiy due to the fact that the competition between the leading drivers was so close this year, with several outstanding performances. As a fun sideline prize, three entries which match my selection, will be selected at random to receive a free signed copy of our review book of the season; James Allen on F1 2012: The Year of Living More…

Posted on December 11, 2012


We’ve had a huge response to the top five drivers of the year vote on JA on F1 over recent days, with just under 800 replies left on the site as of Monday night. Although the composition of the respective reader top fives have been naturally reasonably varied given there are 24 drivers to select from, the #1 ranked position has almost exclusively been contested between the three men who claimed 12 of the 20 wins between them in 2012 – world champion Sebastian Vettel, runner-up Fernando Alonso and four-time 2012 race winner Lewis Hamilton. Indeed, a massive 96% of More…

Posted on December 10, 2012


Sam Michael believes there are no hidden motives behind Lewis Hamilton leaving McLaren and that the driver’s desire to take on a new challenge simply outweighed everything else, even the chance to continue driving a proven race-winning car. The McLaren sporting director gave his assessment on Hamilton’s momentous decision to swap Woking for Mercedes from 2013 while looking back on some of the major talking points of the season alongside a panel of fellow experts in the December edition of the JA on F1 podcast (click here to download). When Hamilton’s three-year Mercedes deal was made public at the end More…

Posted on December 7, 2012


It’s that time of year again. Time for the readers of JA on F1 to rank their Top Five drivers of the season and for us to formally launch the new book JA on F1 2012 – The Year of Living Dangerously, which is published today. And, as per tradition, we invite you to rank the drivers into a Top 5 and post your answers below. We will be giving a signed copy of the new book to three readers’ selections that match mine. These will be picked at random from matching entries. I will publish my own Top 5 More…

Posted on December 7, 2012


Christian Horner is convinced there is still scope for Red Bull to “grow and evolve” as a team into 2013 and beyond in its bid to maintain the momentum built up over the last three years. The Milton Keynes outfit became only the fourth outfit in history, after McLaren, Williams and Ferrari, to win three or more consecutive constructors’ championships this year but precedents of teams winning four in a row are even rarer, with only McLaren (1988-1991) and Ferrari (1999-2004) having achieved the feat. While getting to the top in F1 is notoriously tough, staying there over a prolonged More…

Posted on December 7, 2012


Ten lucky fans will be going behind the scenes at the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS factory in Brackley, England next Monday 10th December. We have been running a competition this week with over 700 entries in 48 hours. Thanks to Mercedes and our partners UBS we have this opportunity to go behind the scenes to experience how a Formula 1 team factory works, to visit the various departments and to see where Lewis Hamilton’s and Nico Rosberg’s 2013 F1 car is being built. The ten lucky winners, selected at random are: Victoria Palmer Hitul Mistry Baghetti Nikki Ponsford Carwyn Bowen Sean More…

Posted on December 6, 2012


A unique collection of sought-after Formula 1 memorabilia and experiences, including Ayrton Senna’s racing gloves from his 1991 championship-winning year and Jenson Button’s race seat from this year’s Australian GP, are to be auctioned off in the New Year to raise money for the Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust. The Trust, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year and which James Allen is among the trustees, has been chosen as the first official charity of Motor Sport magazine’s Hall of Fame awards, which will be held for the fourth time in February when a further quartet of  legends of the More…

Posted on December 6, 2012


The World Motor Sport Council met yesterday to ratify some detailed changes to the F1 calendar for 2013 and to the sporting and technical regulations. The main headline is that the FIA and the commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone are keen to insert a 20th race, to fill the gap left by the postponed New Jersey race. The German Grand Prix will move to July 7th (from 14th July) to make room for a race on July 21st. The Turkish Istanbul Park race track has confirmed an agreement in principle to host the race, which would fall one week before More…

Posted on December 6, 2012


New triple title winner Sebastian Vettel’s signed race suit sold for three times its estimated value in the special ‘world champions’ auction organised by Red Bull’s spinal cord injury charity, Wings for Life. The suit, which the German wore during the season-opening Australian GP back in March, had been given an estimated value of £3,000-£4,000 prior to the auction by Bonhams in London but ultimately sold for £11,000, £5,000 more than any other item. With signed suits from all six world champions on the 2012 grid having been up for grabs, Vettel’s title rival Fernando Alonso’s sold for £6,000 with More…

Posted on December 6, 2012


Formula 1 has signed a major new commercial deal with Rolex which will see the luxury watchmaker become the sport’s official timekeeper as part of a long-term partnership. The agreement, which is believed to be worth around £15 million per annum, will also see Rolex design F1’s official timepiece with the Swiss brand’s logos to also be positioned around grand prix circuits and at several corners next season. The joint statement announcing the new partnership also made clear that Rolex’s presence in F1 is “due to develop over the coming seasons”. Ecclestone and long-time Rolex ambassador Jackie Stewart were on More…

Posted on December 5, 2012


The final JA on F1 podcast of 2012 is a real cracker, with a panel of F1 experts in the studio analysing the key talking points of the F1 season and we also have interviews with World Champion Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Boss Christian Horner. In the studio we have McLaren Sporting Director Sam Michael, Oliver Weingarten, general secretary of the F1 Teams’ Association, leading F1 journalist Mark Hughes, and F1′s top photographer Darren Heath, who brings some fascinating observations on driving styles from standing trackside, with input from Pirelli’s motorsport boss Paul Hembery and insight into F1 business More…

Posted on December 4, 2012


At JA on F1 we are always trying to bring the fans closer to the sport; last month we took ten lucky fans behind the scenes at the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS factory in Brackley, England. The visit was such a success that we are able to offer another tour! We have an opportunity to take another ten fans behind the scenes to experience how a Formula 1 team factory works, to visit the various departments and to see where Lewis Hamilton’s and Nico Rosberg’s 2013 F1 car is being built. This superb opportunity comes thanks to our partner UBS and More…

Posted on December 4, 2012


Kimi Raikkonen completed every lap, bar the last one of F1’s longest ever season, the only driver to do so, while only half of this season’s races were won from pole position. And the Brazilian Grand Prix featured the most overtakes ever in a wet F1 race – these are just a few of the headlines from an analysis of the 2012 F1 season in numbers. Although it appeared that qualifying was more important than ever this year, in fact the highest number of wins from pole for a driver was three for Sebastian Vettel – a very different statistic More…

Posted on December 3, 2012


Two innovators were honoured at the Autosport Awards last night as recipients of the Pioneering and Innovation Awards, sponsored by Tata Communications. Professor Sid Watkins, who passed away earlier this year, was celebrated for his contribution to safety in F1 and motorsport generally via the FIA Medical Team. 1996 world champion Damon Hill was there to sum up Watkins and the Team’s contribution, “F1 has made incredible progress, and to see where it came from, and where it has now got to, is a testament to Sid’s incredible determination and work.” “He was the last person you would want to More…

Posted on December 2, 2012


Ferrari’s traditional end of season sign-off, the Ferrari World Finals, has been the scene of some triumphant scenes in the last decade, but not today. Over 15,000 Ferrari fans are in Valencia to see the last rounds of Ferrari’s own racing series and to see a demonstration run of the F1 car. Fernando Alonso will attend the event, but there is not much to celebrate after the team missed the drivers’ title by 3 points, having enjoyed an advantage of over 40 points after the summer break. He will drive the unloved F2012 car for the last time. Next season More…

Posted on December 2, 2012


The FIA’s new Formula E electric vehicle racing series moved a step closer to reality yesterday with a launch in Rome, which will become the second world city – and the first in Europe – to host a round after Rio de Janeiero. FIA president Jean Todt and Formula E’s CEO Alejandro Agag attended the event hosted by the Mayor of Rome. The inaugural series in 2014 will feature ten races, so there are eight more slots to be filled by host cities in the coming months. There will be ten teams entered, with 20 drivers and 40 cars between More…

Posted on November 30, 2012


The closing date for Formula 1 teams to pay the full increased entry fees to race in the 2013 season passed today, with the total revenues received by the FIA set to be in excess of $15 million. As confirmed recently in next season’s sporting regulations after months of deliberations, all teams now have to pay a flat fee of $500,000 at the time they submit their entries for the following year followed by an additional sum per point scored in the Constructors’ Championship at the completion of that particular season. The general per-point fee is $5,000, however, the constructors’ More…

Posted on November 30, 2012


Following on from our analysis of the head-to-head record of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button over three years as McLaren, here the second in the series, analysing Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg’s similar stint at Mercedes. Schumacher brought the curtain down on his Formula 1 career for the second time at last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix and in doing so ended a three-year and 58 race relationship with Mercedes alongside fellow German Nico Rosberg. It would be fair to say the seven-time world champion’s comeback with the Silver Arrow didn’t quite go to plan. Throughout his career, Schumacher has consistently More…

Posted on November 29, 2012


JA on F1 is looking ahead to the festive season and we are preparing a special “12 Questions of Christmas” podcast, which will be published over the Christmas period. To this end, we would like to invite JA on F1 readers to send in questions on the 2012 season, on the drivers, the teams, the races, the behind the scenes events – whatever has been bugging you or whatever question of interest you’d just like to have answered. We’ll be assembling a panel of F1 insiders in a studio, representing teams, suppliers, journalists and photographers, to answer the 12 best More…

Posted on November 29, 2012


The FIA today confirmed that it plans to take no action over the incident in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix in which Sebastian Vettel overtook Jean Eric Vergne, apparently under yellow flags. Ferrari confirmed via Twitter that it had asked the question of the FIA, having reviewed the video evidence. But a marshal waving a green flag could be seen, when the footage was viewed in slow motion, before Vettel made his move on Vergne and that satisfied the FIA’s Charlie Whiting that there was no case to answer. Whiting told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, “If the lights are not More…

Posted on November 29, 2012


[Updated] For the past few days there has been some debate – on this site and others – as to whether the FIA should review the result of the Brazilian Grand Prix and with it the world championship, as there is video evidence suggesting that Sebastian Vettel made a pass under yellow flags three laps into the race. An on-board video clip presented on one of the Sky subscription channels and reposted on You Tube by a fan, shows Vettel passing Jean-Eric Vergne on the Reta Oposta straight before Turn 4, while yellow lights are still visible on his dashboard More…

Posted on November 28, 2012


Williams F1 Team today confirmed the line-up for 2013 which had been suspected for some time – Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas. The promotion to a race seat of the 23 year old Finn, a protege of Williams’ shareholder Toto Wolff, is an exciting step for F1, as he has impressed with his Friday morning test performances at Grands Prix this year. He won the GP3 championship in 2011 and has been with Williams in a reserve driver capacity since 2010. Williams did a similar programme with Nico Hulkenberg, giving him several years as an apprentice with the team before More…

Posted on November 28, 2012


Three times world champion Sebastian Vettel returned to the Red Bull Racing factory in Milton Keynes yesterday, to celebrate with the team and to do some media commitments. And JA on F1 was there. Vettel looked slightly weary after a late night in a Sao Paulo night club on Sunday night after the race and then a flight to London, “We definitely had a very good time on Sunday night, you have to do that,” he said. “What we achieved for the team and for myself is very special. “From a numbers point of view, you look at it as More…

Posted on November 28, 2012


The longest ever Formula 1 season may have only just finished but Mark Webber is already primed for his next challenge at his annual endurance event in Tasmania, which begins today. The charity challenge, which has been held since 2003, puts competitors through five days of multi-disciplined events covering 217 miles across some of the island’s stunning scenery and historic surroundings. Although he suffered a broken leg in the 2008 event, Red Bull’s Webber continues to take part and for the first time the end of the main race will coincide with a somewhat less gruelling 6.5km ‘Adventure run’ on More…

Posted on November 27, 2012


Lewis Hamilton’s final race for McLaren in Brazil represented a clear closing of an era for the Woking squad both in terms of its long-standing relationship with its one-time protégé and, after three season and 58 races in tandem, the team’s high-profile all-British world champion driver line-up. While Hamilton’s hopes of saying farewell with an Interlagos victory were scuppered when Nico Hulkenberg slid into him at turn one, Jenson Button was able to pick up the pieces and lay down a marker for 2013 when he will inevitably assume additional responsibility and expectation at the team given the relative inexperience More…

Posted on November 27, 2012

The Strategy Report

The Brazilian Grand Prix was a rollercoaster of a race, with positions and fortunes changing from lap to lap as intermittent rain caused chaos. Sebastian Vettel managed to survive a first lap collision, a broken radio and four pitstops to fight back from 17th place on lap one to sixth at the end to secure the points he needed to win the world championship for the third time. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, went from seventh on the grid to second at the end, but did not have the pace in the Ferrari to challenge Jenson Button for the win, which would More…

Posted on November 26, 2012


And so an exceptional year of F1 came to an end with an appropriately thrilling conclusion. I said at the start of the 2012 season that with six world champions in the field whoever won the title would deserve it. That view was underlined after the first seven races were won by seven different drivers and the final round just confirmed it. This season was a pleasure to cover; light(ish) on politics, strong on racing and on characters. I liked the ebb and flow of the year, the fact that different teams had a chance to shine, with Williams winning More…

Posted on November 26, 2012


Intermittent rain showers created a thrilling title decider which had everything at Brazil’s Interlagos track. Sebastian Vettel had the worst possible start, spinning to the back of the field before fighting back to win the title. Fernando Alonso fought bravely to keep his title hopes alive before missing out, while Jenson Button mastered the conditions at the front to take victory. Nico Hulkenberg drove one of the races of his life, barring one misjudgment while Felipe Massa drove strongly in front of his home fans – but who was your Driver of the Day? Jenson Button Set himself up for More…

Posted on November 25, 2012


Sebastian Vettel has become only the third man in history – and the youngest – to claim three consecutive Formula One World Championship titles after an exhilarating season finale in Brazil, which saw Jenson Button claim victory. Vettel overcame a first lap collision which dropped him to 17th, three pit-stops and a broken radio which meant the team wasn’t expecting him for one of his stops, to take sixth place and join Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as triple-consecutive World Champions, as his fellow contender, Fernando Alonso, finished second in the race and three points behind Vettel at the More…

Posted on November 25, 2012


A week after celebrating its third consecutive Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing has today announced that its partner Infiniti is to become the title sponsor in 2013. With the global economy still not recovered from the financial crisis of the late 2000s, there are only four title sponsors currently among the 12 teams on the grid. This is quite a change from ten years ago. This latest move is significant as it means that less of the total budget, one of the highest in F1, is paid by the parent drinks company. It also shows that other brands can benefit More…

Posted on November 25, 2012


One man who will be keeping everything crossed this afternoon is Remi Taffin, from Renault Sport, hoping that the new specification alternators do not fail and affect the outcome of the world championship. Vettel lost a victory in Valencia to an alternator failure and suffered another in Monza, along with Romain Grosjean. The failure on Mark Webber’s car in Austin sent alarm bells ringing for Sebastian Vettel’s title deciding season finale, but that was the last of the oldest specification V1 units; this weekend all Renault powered teams are using Version 3 of the unit, which features a new design More…

Posted on November 25, 2012


We had a very healthy 626 entries for this weekend’s competition to predict the gap in qualifying between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. The winner was Lewis, entry number 65, who predicted 0.49s in Vettel’s favour. The actual gap was 0.493s. So congratulations to Lewis, whose email address indicates he is from India. A signed and personalised copy of the new book “JA on F1 2012- The Year of Living Dangerously” will be sent out to him when it is published on December 7th. The 248 page large format paperback book tells all the inside stories of the 2012 season. More…

Posted on November 24, 2012


Lewis Hamilton has claimed his seventh pole position of the season and the last for McLaren, at the season ending Brazilian Grand Prix, heading a McLaren front row with Mark Webber in third. It was McLaren’s 62nd front row lock out, which establishes a new F1 record. After his well judged win in Austin last weekend, this was Hamilton once again on form, highlighting what might have been had the McLaren been as reliable as it has been fast this season. The title battle between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso meanwhile, will see the two start three places apart, with More…

Posted on November 23, 2012


Lewis Hamilton followed up his win in Austin last Sunday with a strong performance in practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix season finale. The McLaren driver set a fastest time of 1m 14.028 to head championship leader Sebastian Vettel by 0.274 secs. Having set the fastest low-fuel time on the medium tyre, his performance on the long runs also looked good, however he did give the tyres a breather from time to time, which he will not be able to do in race conditions. Rivals did unbroken sequences of laps, so the picture is not as clear as it may More…

Posted on November 23, 2012


It was inevitable that in the run up to the World championship showdown there would be mind games between rivals but so far Sebastian Vettel, who has the 13 point advantage over Fernando Alonso, has been the one on the back foot. Alonso has been banging the drum lately about racing Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey, suggesting that Newey’s contribution is the more significant, “At the moment we are not fighting against Sebastian only,” he said in India. “We are also fighting against Newey let’s say. “It is not so easy to fight, especially on Saturday, but on Sunday More…

Posted on November 23, 2012


On Friday morning in Brazil two more seats on the F1 grid for 2013 were resolved as Sauber confirmed the news which Sergio Perez let slip, that fellow Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, 21, would drive alongside Nico Hulkenberg. This leaves Kamui Kobayashi out on a limb. Meanwhile Caterham has hired 22 year old Charles Pic from Marussia F1 Team. The Frenchman has done a good job this year up against Timo Glock and also comes with a budget and strong French support. As Caterham strengthens its links with Renault, developing road cars and closer ties, Pic fits well in the picture. More…

Posted on November 23, 2012


Fernando Alonso’s US Grand Prix weekend may have been spent largely focusing on the serious business of his title bid but the Ferrari driver did have a chance for some light relief during an event in the heart of Austin. As part of a promotional appearance for the team’s fuel partner Shell, the double world champion visited one of the firm’s petrol stations in the state to surprise an unsuspecting local customer who had pulled into the garage to fill up his car. After getting over the shock of having his car filled up by Alonso, Pedro Solis was presented More…

Posted on November 22, 2012


On the eve of their championship deciding race in Brazil, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso paid tribute to Michael Schumacher, who will start his 306th and last Grand Prix on Sunday, aged 43. The pair come at it from different angles; Alonso raced hard against Schumacher from when he got a competitive car in 2003 and they contested the 2006 world championship, which Alonso won. “I think we will always remember the privilege to race and compete with someone like Michael that will be record in history of Formula One, maybe for a very long time and we’ve been there, More…

Posted on November 22, 2012


As the final round of the F1 season approaches, it’s time to run another prediction competition – at which JA on F1 readers always excel! This weekend, we want to you to predict what the time gap will be between the two world title contenders, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso in qualifying and in who’s favour. So for example, if you think Vettel will be 0.35s faster in qualifying you would write “Vettel by 0.35s” in the comments section below. The prize is a signed and personalised copy of our new book “JA on F1 2012 – The Year of More…

Posted on November 21, 2012


It’s been one of the most exciting seasons of F1 and it looks like it may have one more twist before it’s over. This weekend the World Drivers’ Championship will be decided at the Brazilian Grand Prix, between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. It seems straightforward for Vettel. He needs only to finish fourth or better regardless of Alonso’s result to win the title. Red Bull is the form team at Interlagos, having won this race for the last three years in a row. But it looks as though fate may intervene, with rain forecast on Saturday and Sunday. As More…

Posted on November 21, 2012


This is a fun video with Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg showing Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero how much faster a real racing car is than a high performance sportscar. It’s part of a series by Puma, which brings sports people from different disciplines into contact with F1 and motorsport. It all helps to spread the word about our sport. What works well here is that Aguero is very cocky when it comes to driving the road car, texting on his phone while Rosberg is trying to show him the lines around a rather damp Donington – to the extent More…

Posted on November 20, 2012

The Strategy Report

Pre-Race Expectations Before the race started, teams were certain that this would be a one-stop race. The Pirelli tyre choice of Medium and hard was quite conservative and there were no signs of the extreme degradation that had been such a feature of the first half of the season. Degradation was 0.02 sec per lap for the medium and 0.01 sec per lap for the Hard. Pirelli had been influenced by the high temperatures in the November 18 week last year and for most of this year the temperatures have been 5 degrees warmer than seasonal average. So everyone expected More…

Posted on November 20, 2012


The importance of the United States market to Formula 1 was a topic of constant discussion during the inaugural Austin Grand Prix weekend and there were several outreach initiatives during the weekend, including a FOTA Fans Forum and a business symposium to take F1 into the Texan and wider US business community. The Motor Sport Business Forum, which over the past eight years has established itself as the leading event for discussion and networking on the major issues around the world of motorsport business, hosted the inaugural Texas Business Symposium at the University of Texas. Over 200 delegates, both from More…

Posted on November 20, 2012


Lewis Hamilton’s father, Anthony, has given a revealing insight into how his relationship with his son has evolved over the last couple of years and why the move to Mercedes is another example of him flying the nest. Hamilton Snr’s presence in McLaren’s post-race celebrations of Hamilton’s brilliant victory in Austin pointed towards father and son having firmly been reconciled this year after a period in which their relationship, publicly at least, has appeared more distant. The pair had been famously more akin to a double act as Lewis came through the motorsport ranks and into his record-breaking early years More…

Posted on November 19, 2012


One of the major talking points from the US Grand Prix weekend was the decision by Ferrari on Sunday morning to deliberately break a seal on the gearbox of Felipe Massa’s car, so that he would get a five place grid penalty which would move team mate Fernando Alonso one place up the grid and onto the clean side of the grid for a better start. Practice starts during the weekend had shown that the dirty side of the grid was so lacking in grip that the car would lose up to a second in the 350 metre run to More…

Posted on November 19, 2012


I’m delighted to announce that we will be publishing the new review of the year: JA on F1 2012 – The Year of Living Dangerously” on December 7th. But from today you can pre-order your copy by clicking on this link JA on F1 Book The book is a large format paperback, 248 pages with 8 pages of stunning colour photos by Darren Heath and costs just £10.99. All copies ordered through the JA on F1 website will be signed personally by me and sent out on December 7th. This is the fourth year we have produced this book and, More…

Posted on November 19, 2012


Formula 1’s return to the United States turned out to be a big success as the brand new Circuit of the Americas delivered one of the most exciting races of the season, featuring a race-long duel for the lead and some strong drives through the field. There were impressive performances from both title contenders – Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso – and two former champions – Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, while Felipe Massa overcame a cruel psychological blow to score a great result – but who was your Driver of the Day? Lewis Hamilton It’s not every day that More…

Posted on November 18, 2012


Lewis Hamilton continued his strong record in North America by winning an exciting race in Austin, Texas. Although Red Bull clinched the Constructors’ Championship, the result forced the Drivers’ Championship battle to roll on to the final race of the season in Brazil, as Sebastian Vettel was beaten into second place while his title rival Fernando Alonso completed the podium, from seventh on the grid. Losing the extra seven points a win would have given, the result sees Vettel increase his Championship lead over Alonso by just three points, to thirteen, whilst Red Bull have become the first Formula One More…

Posted on November 17, 2012


Sebastian Vettel claimed his sixth pole position of the season and surely one of the more important, to put one hand on the world championship crown, as fellow contender Fernando Alonso could only manage eighth place for Austin’s inaugural United States Grand Prix. A win tomorrow would mean that Vettel would need at worst a 6th place finish on Brazil to be champion, regardless of Alonso’s results, but if Alonso doesn’t climb at least five places from his grid slot, the German will be champion tomorrow night. Vettel maintained his supremacy from free practice to top every phase of qualifying More…

Posted on November 17, 2012


The US immigration officer at Houston Airport was in no doubt, “We’ve had half of Mexico coming through here heading for the race,” he said. Mexican fans are expected to form a significant percentage of the 120,000 fans in the Circuit of the Americas on Sunday. Austin is just 200 miles from the Mexican border and it’s a short flight from population centres Monterrey and Mexico City. But if Tavo Hellmund, the man whose idea it was to bring F1 to Austin, has his way, Mexico will soon have its own Grand Prix. And he believes it will be the More…

Posted on November 17, 2012


Formula 1’s latest attempt to put down permanent roots in America got underway at the Circuit of the Americas today and it was the man who made his debut the last time the sport raced in the United States five years ago, Sebastian Vettel, who enjoyed the most dominant of Fridays. The Red Bull driver has his first chance to clinch his third consecutive world title this weekend if results go his way and in practice he demonstrated the kind form needed to at least keep to his part of the bargain with big margins of superiority in both FP1 More…

Posted on November 15, 2012


And so it comes to this: Two races in eight days to decide the outcome of the 2012 world championship. It’s been a long road to this point, but which of the two drivers has done a better job? Here we present an analysis of what has led us to this point. The margin between them is small at 10 points. But it will be all over this weekend if Vettel wins with Alonso 5th or lower. It can also be settled if Vettel is 2nd with Alonso 9th or lower or if Vettel is 3rd and Alonso is out More…

Posted on November 15, 2012


This weekend marks the return to the United States of Formula 1 after an absence of five years. And as the USA is the second largest market for JA on F1 readers, with over 700,000 American visitors this year, we want to hear from you about how the event is being covered by the national and local press as well as TV and Radio. Oscar Wilde said that ‘the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about’ and that’s certainly true of this event. So is it being talked about or not? Let us know. The More…

Posted on November 14, 2012


This weekend the F1 teams will race on the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for the first time. And it could well be the title decider with Sebastian Vettel 10 points ahead of Fernando Alonso and only 50 points left on the table. So what will this race turn on? What is the secret to being competitive at Austin and how will the all-important race strategy play out? The new Circuit of the Americas looks very attractive from a drivers’ and spectators’ point of view. It has a little bit of everything; Mercedes’ simulations suggest the circuit More…

Posted on November 13, 2012


Formula 1 has experienced a first this year with six world champions on the grid and Red Bull’s Wings for Life charity has organised a very special auction to reflect this unique feat. The charity, which funds worldwide research into spinal injury, has managed to get each active title winner – Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Red Bull’s very own reigning champion Sebastian Vettel – to donate worn and signed race suits, along with other signed donations such as prints and race gloves, which will be put to auction to fans by Bonhams as More…

Posted on November 12, 2012


McLaren is putting itself at the heart of the FIA’s new adventure into electric vehicle motorsport via a deal for its McLaren Electronic Systems division to supply electric engines, transmissions and electronics to the new Formula E series, starting in 2014. The company, which has the contracts to supply the standard Electronic Control Units to all F1 and NASCAR teams, is joining forces with Frederic Vasseur, the man behind ART Grand Prix, with whom McLaren placed Lewis Hamilton for his successful Euro F3 and GP2 apprenticeship. Vasseur’s Spark Racing Technologies company is building the cars for the new series, which More…

Posted on November 12, 2012


Pastor Maldonado may have endured a season of wildly fluctuating fortunes but one area in which the Williams driver has consistently impressed has been in qualifying. Whereas team-mate Bruno Senna has only made Q3 once in 18 attempts, Maldonado has reached the top 10 on 11 occasions, burnishing his reputation as a one-lap specialist by starting inside the front two rows four times. The most noticeable thing about his two most recent top-four starts, in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, was his lap-time improvement between Q2 and Q3:  the Venezuelan finding the best part of seven and eight tenths in the More…

Posted on November 11, 2012


Next Sunday the outcome of the F1 world championships could be decided at the United States Grand Prix on the new circuit in Austin. And the view from the inside, after extensive work by teams on simulators in the last week, is that the nature of the Austin circuit looks set to favour Red Bull. Sebastian Vettel leads the drivers’ championship by 10 points, from Fernando Alonso, meaning that with his superior number of wins, if he can increase that lead by another 15 points and finish the Austin race 25 points ahead of Alonso, he will be champion. Meanwhile More…

Posted on November 11, 2012


A new coffee table book has been published featuring a selection of photographs taken by every F1 driver and team principal, raising money for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London. The hospital has strong links with F1, through Bernie Ecclestone in particular, who was behind this initiative. Entitled “Zoom: Through the eyes of Formula 1″ it features a wide variety of images and explanations, showing in many cases places that drivers and team principals go to relax away from racing. Kamui Kobayashi shot Mount Fuji (above), while Christian Horner photographed his dogs in the back of an old Land More…

Posted on November 9, 2012


There was an interesting news snippet this week; the announcement that Apple’s head of Internet software and services, Eddie Cue, has joined the board of Ferrari. There has been speculation about what this might be leading towards, with some suggesting that Apple is interested in the “Connected car” concept, whereby services available in the home will become available in the car, thanks to improved 3g and 4g connectivity. There is also much for Ferrari to gain in terms of reaching its enormous fan base worldwide with content and raising revenues from it, as Cue has extensive experience of Apple’s ITunes More…

Posted on November 9, 2012


F1 fans will be familiar with the way that aerodynamicists explore air flow lines over a car, working with wind tunnels but also at circuits with flo-viz paint, to see how the air passes over a car. But here is something which takes the exploration of aerodynamic lines to a new – almost artistic – level. It’s a ‘light painting’, done on the McLaren P1 and I have to say I’d love to see this treatment done on an F1 car. Here is what the artists who did the light painting, MarshmallowLaserFeast, and James Medcraft, had to say about it. More…

Posted on November 8, 2012


Today ten lucky JA on F1 competition winners got the chance to see how the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team designs, builds and modifies its F1 cars on a unique behind the scenes tour of the factory in Brackley. Standing next to the very chassis in which Nico Rosberg suffered his huge accident in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, they reflected that they were getting closer to the sport than they ever could have dreamed. While in the race bays, they also had a close look at Michael Schumacher’s car and the pit stop equipment which gives Mercedes some of More…

Posted on November 8, 2012


Cyril Abiteboul has been appointed as the man to take over the day-to-day running of the Caterham F1 Team from Tony Fernandes and lead the Leafield-based outfit into its next chapter of development. As has always been his plan, team co-owner Fernandes this week revealed he had decided to step down from the team principal role to concentrate on his wider business interests having finally aligned the F1 team to a manufacturer entity with Caterham Cars and, in recent days, entered into a major sports car project with Renault. The Caterham Group’s growing links to the French manufacturer were hinted More…

Posted on November 8, 2012


Williams executive director Toto Wolff insists the team has not yet decided which two drivers it will pair together in 2013, with the option of retaining the current line-up “one of the possibilities”. Incumbents Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna have both experienced mixed seasons, part explaining why the team sits only eighth in the constructors’ championship despite a big step forward in car performance, although the former has delivered the more eye-catching results with a win in Barcelona and a number of impressive Q3 laps. Senna by comparison has consistently struggled to match Maldonado’s qualifying feats, yet has been the More…

Posted on November 8, 2012


Lotus team principal Eric Boullier revealed it was a “relief” to watch Kimi Raikkonen take the team’s first win of the season in Abu Dhabi and first for the squad from Enstone, formerly known as Renault, since Fernando Alonso took victory in the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix. It was a victory which included a bit of good fortune as Lewis Hamilton’s retirement with a fuel pressure problem allowed Raikkonen to inherit the lead and one which rewarded them after a season of near misses. The black and gold liveried team started the season on the back foot after missing the More…

Posted on November 7, 2012


Red Bull’s latest rising prospect Antonio Felix da Costa moved the world champion team ahead of McLaren on the second day of the young driver test in Abu Dhabi. The 21-year-old from Lisbon, who was signed to Red Bull’s young driver programme earlier this year and won four of this season’s final Formula Renault 3.5 races, improved his second-fastest time from day one by a mere 0.038s to 1m42.679s but that was still enough to set the pace as none of the other six runners could match Kevin Magnussen’s day one effort. Da Costa completed 62 laps during typically sweltering More…

Posted on November 7, 2012


Caterham will have a new team principal next season after owner Tony Fernandes confirmed he would imminently be stepping down after three years in the role. Fernandes’s announcement comes in the same week that he achieved a major landmark for the Caterham brand as a whole by entering into a partnership with Renault to revive the Alpine sportscar brand which will see two new models to be launched within the next four years. On creating the then Lotus Racing outfit, with the name under licence from Group Lotus, in late 2009, the Malaysian entrepreneur made clear that his stay as More…

Posted on November 7, 2012


McLaren has maintained its pre-eminent status among the Formula 1 grid for its environmental consciousness by retaining the Carbon Trust Standard it was first awarded two years ago. The Woking-based oufit has taken a lead in F1 in recent years in improving its carbon efficiency and originally earned the certificate in December 2010 after three years of assessment and management aimed at reducing its carbon footprint. This week the body recertified the McLaren Group following two further years of progress which has seen a relative reduction in its carbon footprint by 9% despite the expansion of its Woking base. This More…

Posted on November 7, 2012


Welcome to the JA on F1 podcast for November, brought to you by UBS. This month we have something a bit special. We went to Paris to quiz FIA president Jean Todt on the key subjects of the moment in F1 – the new higher team entry fees, 2014 engines and whether Bernie Ecclestone will have more of a say in making the F1 rules in future, “I will never allow things which are under our responsibility to be dealt with by anyone else,” he says forthrightly. And we have a behind-the-scenes special with the Williams F1 team. Bruno Senna More…

Posted on November 6, 2012


The third and final leg of the fractured 2012 young guns test got underway for six teams in more traditional surroundings in Abu Dhabi today and it was a driver with a familiar surname to Formula 1 who set the opening day’s pace. Dane Kevin Magnussen followed in his father Jan’s footsteps by making his F1 test bow for McLaren and the 20-year-old Formula Renault 3.5 driver marked his debut by setting the pace around Yas Marina. His best time, set during the morning before he handed the car over to veteran McLaren tester Gary Paffett, of 1m42.651s was enough More…

Posted on November 6, 2012

The Strategy Report

Safety cars in Abu Dhabi are a rare occurrence, but Fernando Alonso has reason to curse them; they have now twice come along to upset the race strategies and both times dealt a blow to his hopes of winning a championship for Ferrari In 2010 a Safety Car at the start of the race allowed Vitaly Petrov to pit for new tyres, enabling him to run the end of the race, blocking Alonso and wrecking his strategy. Last weekend, the Abu Dhabi Safety Car struck again, this time to help his main rival. Red Bull had offered Ferrari an open More…

Posted on November 6, 2012


If Lewis Hamilton felt that Sebastian Vettel’s had been “lucky” to rescue a third place finish in Abu Dhabi, it was certainly not a word you could apply to the McLaren driver’s own race on Sunday, or indeed his season as a whole. Although Hamilton has been effectively out of the title running for several races now, confirmation that his wait for a second drivers’ title would stretch into a fifth season, and beyond the end of his McLaren career, officially arrived under the lights at Yas Marina the moment his MP4-27 pulled off the road with a fuel pressure More…

Posted on November 5, 2012


The Caterham Group has taken major step in its development under Tony Fernandes by deepening its ties with Renault, its Formula 1 engine supplier, in a new partnership to design and build sports cars. Caterham has bought a 50% stake in the Renault-owned Automobiles Alpine Renault, which was originally the historic French Alpine manufacturer which was a giant of the rallying world in the 1970s and whose Dieppe Plant in Normandy has been more recently used as the base for the production of Renault Sport models. The new company will be known as The Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham when More…

Posted on November 5, 2012


There will be disappointment at Ferrari this morning on two levels; first that they were unable to take any more advantage of Sebastian Vettel’s grid penalty in Abu Dhabi than a mere three points. And second that the raft of updates on the car at this race didn’t produce the jump in performance they were looking for. Vettel had a bad day on Saturday and then a very good day, with some lucky breaks on the Safety Car, on Sunday, when the points were handed out. But the problem for Ferrari is clear: Alonso qualified 7th, 0.952s behind the pole More…

Posted on November 5, 2012


This year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina was the most exciting in its short history and arguably one of the most thrilling of the season. Kimi Raikkonen won his first grand prix since returning to the sport this year, Fernando Alonso fought bravely to secure second in an underperforming Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel managed a podium having started from the pit lane. Who was your Driver of the Day? Kimi Raikkonen Arrived in Abu Dhabi as one of four drivers with a mathematical chance of winning the drivers’ title after a consistent season which had seen him score More…

Posted on November 4, 2012


Kimi Raikkonen was his usual enigmatic self this evening after taking his first win since 2009 in his comeback season with Lotus. Asked, “How long will your celebrations of this win last ?” the notoriously bibulous Finn said, “I have almost two weeks. As long as I manage to get myself to the next race I think the team is happy. Maybe I will try to get home at some point.” However this light hearted response belies his general tone when speaking about his win after today’s race; he has been refusing to get carried away, describing it as “just More…

Posted on November 4, 2012


This week we have been running a competition offering 10 people the chance to tour the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS factory in Brackley, England. The winners will go behind the scenes of the team for which Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher raced this year and for which Lewis Hamilton will race next season. They will have a unique opportunity to see where and how the cars are made, accompanied by our own James Allen and representatives of the team. This superb opportunity, which takes place on the morning of Thursday November 8th is thanks to our partner UBS and to the More…

Posted on November 4, 2012


Kimi Raikkonen won a thrilling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, arguably one of the most exciting races of the season, holding off Fernando Alonso in the final laps to win for the first time since Spa 2009 and giving Lotus its first win since the 1987 US Grand Prix victory for Ayrton Senna. Raikkonen survived two safety cars, which cut his lead, to become the eighth different race winner of this 2012 championship. He went from 4th to first, Alonso from 6th to second and Vettel from 24th to 3rd. Lewis Hamilton controlled the first part of the race from pole More…

Posted on November 3, 2012


Sebastian Vettel the world championship leader, has been excluded from the results of the Abu Dhabi qualifying session for having insufficient fuel in his car at the end of qualifying for the FIA to perform the usual checks. He will start tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the pit lane, on a track where overtaking is not straight forward. Red Bull took this option so that they could set up the car specifically for overtaking, optimising the DRS opportunities and changing the gearbox and gear ratios to improve straight line speed. THe fuel irregularity is a similar offence to the More…

Posted on November 3, 2012


Lewis Hamilton has started on the front row of the grid for all of the Abu Dhabi Grands Prix to date and tomorrow he starts from pole position ahead of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, while championship contender Fernando Alonso slipped back to 7th place, a disaster for his hopes of gaining ground on Vettel in the title race. It was Hamilton’s sixth pole of the season and the 25th of his career. He was on swashbuckling form, showing the speed that McLaren are likely to miss next season when he joins Mercedes. Team mate Jenson Button was 6/10ths slower More…

Posted on November 2, 2012


The McLaren Production Centre, situated alongside the McLaren Technology Centre Formula One base in Woking, has received the Judges Special Award at the 25th anniversary of the British Construction Awards, held in London this week. The MPC, which is the base of McLaren Automotive, houses the manufacturing and design processes of the groups high-performance cars, such as the MP4-12C, and has been rewarded with the accolade as it is regarded to be a civil engineering project that is particularly inspirational. Opened in November 2011 at a cost of £800million by the British Prime Minster David Cameron, the site is large More…

Posted on November 2, 2012


The much discussed entry fee hike for F1 teams was confirmed this week, as the 2013 Sporting Regulations were published by the FIA. Under the new rules for 2013, the team that wins the constructors’ championship will pay a basic fee of US$500,000 and then $6000 US for every point scored. The other teams will pay the same basic fee plus US$5000 per point. So, for example, if Red Bull continues scoring points in the three final races at the same rate as they have scored in the last three races then they will end up with around 520 points, More…

Posted on November 2, 2012


Caterham performance director John Iley is hopeful the package of upgrades the team has brought to Abu Dhabi will ultimately be worth around three tenths of a second in lap time to the team. Having fallen behind Marussia in the battle for lucrative tenth place in the constructors’ championship four races ago in Singapore, Caterham has just three weekends left to try and redress the balance and, in its on-going bid to catch the back of the midfield, unveiled a series of updates on the CT01 this morning in first practice. Caterham’s deficit to Q2 has been consistently over a More…

Posted on November 2, 2012


This weekend looks like being a fight between the championship leader Sebastian Vettel and the two McLaren drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, with Vettel and Hamilton in particular squaring up for a fight for victory. Vettel was faster on the soft tyres in FP2, after Hamilton had set the pace on medium tyres in FP1. Last weekend in India we saw the Red Bull faster in the opening stint of the race on the soft tyres but giving something up to the McLarens and Ferraris on the hard tyre. It will be interesting to see whether that pattern repeats More…



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